4. THE CONSOLIDATED FLEET.
On July 31, 1929(1), Kenneth Parker bought his first private aircraft, a Consolidated Fleet Model 1 serial #14 seven-cylinder Warner Scarab 110 hp. engine, two seating capacity and registered with number NC-8600 purchase from the Gray Goose Air Lines Inc., of which Mr. Parker was part-owner.
His father, George, related it like this in Proxy:
«AEROPLANE. Did you know that the Advertising Manager of the Parker Pen Company is now also owner of an individual plane?
You know Kenneth was a flier during the war, and I suppose he has never gotten quite rid of the flying fever that strikes young lads. Anyway, he bought a Husky plane, whatever that means.
The writer has not been up in the plane, but Kenneth has taken a few hops before breakfast of one or two hundred miles and then back to work. He is usually accompanied by Mechanician Bert Hilton. Bert seems to love the smoke of the aeroplane the same as ever.»
The biplane was known as “Husky Junior”, the little brother of the Consolidated Husky that has been the standard training plane for the U.S. Navy. The name Fleet was in honor of Major Reuben H. Fleet, founder of Consolidated Aircraft Co.
The airplane could carry a useful load of 558 pounds and had 115 mph. as high speed and 95 mph. as cruising speed having a ceiling of 13,000 ft. With a wingspan of 28 ft., length of 20 ft. and 7 ft. of height, the biplane was finished in color blue and gold duco with steel propeller having installed a tachometer, altimeter, oil thermometer and gauges for gasoline, air pressure and oil pressure. Mr. Parker added a new style tail skid and put on a stabilizer. The two seats in the cockpit were fitted with dual controls. The plane that initially had its base at Kempton-Dudley airport south of Janesville, passed to Janesville City airport to the north, once opened.
This news was released just like that: “KENNETH PARKER BUYS OWN PLANE. Trim New Ship Flown Here from Chicago; is for business, pleasure. A naval flyer and instructor in the World War ll years ago, Kenneth S. Parker, second vice-president of the Parker Pen Company, has purchased his own trim, two-place biplane which he will use for business and pleasure purposes with headquarters at the Janesville airport(2)… In company with Col. F. H. Jenkins of the local airport, Mr. Parker flew his new plane from Chicago to Janesville in 50 minutes Thursday, landing at the airport here at 12:15 p.m. “She handles beautifully,” Mr. Parker stated in showing his new ship to George S. Parker, his father(3).
The investigation about this biplane produced the satisfaction for the author of having found the Kenneth Parker´s Consolidated at present and with the capacity to fly thanks to a new Kinner R-55 160 hp. engine installed in 1973. Currently, the Kenneth´s Consolidated can be visited at the Niagara Aerospace Museum at Niagara Falls, NY.
Just a few days later, on September 5, accompanied by other Janesville airplanes with photographers in their crew, Mr. Parker and his Consolidated took off from Kempton-Dudley airport in an exercise attempting photography of airplanes in formation above the clouds.The investigation about this biplane produced the satisfaction for the author of having found the Kenneth Parker´s Consolidated at present and with the capacity to fly thanks to a new Kinner R-55 160 hp. engine installed in 1973. Currently, the Kenneth´s Consolidated can be visited at the Niagara Aerospace Museum at Niagara Falls, NY.
- According with documents of the Federal Aviation Administration Aircraft Registry.
- It refers to Kempton-Dudley airport. Janesville City Airport did not yet exist. Author note.
- Janesville Daily Gazette (August 2, 1929), p. 11.
- Photo collected and cropped from National Air & Space Museum; https://airandspace.si.edu/collection.
- Janesville Daily Gazette (August 24, 1929), p. 5.
- Photo collected from http://warbirdsnews.com/tag/1929-consolidated-fleet-model-1.
- Aero Digest (December, 1928), p. 1127.
5. THE VERVILLE SPORT TRAINER.
In July, 1930, and delivering the Consolidated as part payment, Kenneth Parker bought an exclusive two-place open tandem biplane Verville «AT» Sport Trainer of which only 10 units were manufactured. The Sportsman, as it was also known, offered excellent flight characteristics and exceptional stability, due in part to the pronounced dihedral of the lower wing. The new plane was a beautifully built ship with reddish-orange wings and black fuselage and upholstered seats with luxurious leather trim, the Sport Trainer was sold for $ 5,250. During the past two years. Mr. Parker has been flying a Fleet biplane which he is replacing with the new ship.
Weighing 1,562 pounds when empty, the plane could carry a load of 678 pounds. The cruising speed is 90 mph. and top speed 115 mph and a service ceiling of 15,000 ft. Twenty-four feet in length and with a wingspan of 31 ft., the ship was powered with a self-started 165-horsepower Continental A070 radial motor. It was fitted with a stainless steel propeller.
Equipped with a tail wheel with oildraulic shock absorber, had installed navigation lights and the two seats in the cockpit were fitted with dual controls doted of ignition switches, compass, airspeed indicator, stabilizers, tachometers, altimeters, oil thermometers and gauges for gasoline and oil pressure.
The local press published it like this: “The new Verville biplane recently purchase by Kenneth Parker, was scheduled to be delivered here sometime Saturday, the ship being flown from Detroit by a pilot of the company. The same pilot will take away Mr. Parker´s Fleet plane which he has disposed of” (1).
In this Verville, Kenneth Parker made his first airmail delivery of pens to stationer of Rockford, Illinois (3).
- “New biplane due in city from Detroit” (July 26, 1930). Janesville Daily Gazette.
- Gentleness of Rock County Historical Society. August 16, 2019.
- “Pen Air” (September, 1950). Skyways magazine, p. 29.
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